Creator: Parson family; Morse family
Dates: 1719-1940
Quantity: .5 linear feet (1 document box)
Acquisition:  Accession #: unknown ; Donated by: June Morse Marchant
Identification: A33 ; Archive Collection #33; Document Box P23A
Citation: [Document Title]. The Parson/Morse Papers, [Box #, Folder #, Item #], Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.
Copyright: Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be addressed to the Librarian/Archivist.
Language: English
Finding Aid:  Peter J. Brown, 2004.

View the collection here.


The documentation concerning Isaac Morse as the master of the W. B. Ferguson is a rather detailed picture of a successful merchant captain during and after the Civil War. Information on the Parson family, however is scant:

William Parsons, trader

Samuel Parsons, cordwainer

John Parsons, coaster

Jacob Parson, mariner, yeoman

Nathaniel Parsons, gentleman

Nehemiah Parsons, mariner

William Parson Jr., mariner, yeoman

Solomon Parsons, cordwainer


The Parsons/Morse papers document the description and sale of parcels of land owned originally by the Parsons family, and after 1842, the Morse family. The documents cover the years from 1719 to 1940. The land was in the general area of Stage Fort Park (then known as Fishermen’s Field) and Western Avenue. Other documents concern the schooner W. B. Ferguson, of which Isaac Morse was the master. Included are invoice receipts for the schooner on a trip to Baltimore on March 20, 1863; citizenship documentation and a required Oath of Allegiance to teach in New Orleans in 1863; license approval from the city of Gloucester for the W. B. Ferguson; and the appointment of Isaac Morse as Commissioner of Wrecks and Shipwrecked Goods for Essex county. Also included is a tin container which was used to preserve documents.


I. Documents relating to land transactions are in chronological order, Folders 1 - 7

II. Documents pertaining to Isaac Morse, Folders 8 - 9


Series I, Folder 1

1. (Copy) Jeffery Parson (Jr.) to son Samuel Parsons, several parcels of land on southwest side of Annisquam River, several parcels of Upland, Marsh and Thatchbanks including parcel where his dwelling house stands – about 13/4 acres, bounded by James Parsons’ and John Parson’ land and the highway. Another parcel at the harbor bounded by James Parsons’ land and land now belonging to William Parsons, & the sea and on N.E. “by land that was left to all of us to improve as we had occasion.” Several other parcels. 10 July1723; Essex Reg. Of Deeds Book 51 Leaf 138

2. William Parsons of Gloucester, Trader to Samuel Parsons of Gloucester, Cordwainer 1/4 part of a wood lot, the whole containing about four acres (Lot #167 on Commoners’ record. 13 March 1748

3.John Parsons of Gloucester, Coaster to Jacob Parsons of same town, Mariner, a piece of land in Fisherman’s Field 1/2 acre. Wife Elizabeth agreeing. 10 Sep 1753; Martha Parsons & Jemima Parsons, witnesses.

4. Nathaniel Sargent of Gloucester, Gentleman, to Jacob Parsons of Gloucester, Mariner, 2 pieces of salt marsh bounded on S.E. by Samuel Parsons, then as Creek runs around to the Point – the other bounded by Jacob Parsons – by side of a ditch to the Creek westerly along said creek to the Fence by the Spring, then southeasterly as the Fence stands to the bound first mentioned. 7 April 1757; Essex Reg. Of Deeds Book 106 Leaf 13

 5. Nathaniel Sargent, Gentleman to Jacob Parsons, Mariner, 2 pieces of land in Fisherman’s Field containing about 3 acres with buildings – near a Great Rock then southerly to the Fence ... by Ebenezer Parsons’ land ... as the fence now stand to the country road ... westerly by the highway to the bound first mentioned. The other a woodlot #169 bounded according to division between John and Josiah Parsons. 15 April 1757; Essex Reg. Of Deeds lib 106 Fol 12

6. Samuel Parsons, Cordwainer to Jacob parson, mariner, a parcel of land in Fisherman’s Field about 7 acres. By a heap of stones between Samuel and William Parson Jr. ... stone wall by Isaac Parsons ... bound by land belonging to James Parsons, deceased, southerly to the sea, by the sea to bound first mentioned. Signed by Samuel Parsons and Ruth Parsons 6 Dec. 1761. Witnesses Nehemiah Parsons & Samuel Parsons 3rd. Rec. Lib. 110 Folio 86.

 7. Jemima Parsons, widow of Joseph, to Jacob Parsons, mariner, sundry pieces of real estate belonging to Joseph Parsons, a privilege in the dwelling house, 2/3 of the cellar ... half a pew in the Meeting House ... between James Parsons’ land and land set off to widow Mary Parsons. June 1763.

8. Nehemiah Parsons, Mariner to Jacob Parsons, Mariner, a tract of land in Fisherman’s Field about 3/4 acres beginning at S.W. corner, a flake by the wall, the N.E. to a flake by Isaac Parsons’ wall, then S.W. to a flake in the end of Solomon Parsons’ wall, then N.W. to the bound first mentioned, with privileges and appurtenances. Signed by Nehemiah and Elizabeth Parsons 8 April 1763. Witnesses Jacob Parsons Jr. and Nehemiah Parsons Jr. Recorded Lib 115 Folio 212.

Series I, Folder 2

9. Inventory of Estate of Nehemiah Parsons. Dwelling House and about 3/4 acres of land adjoining the shop, 1 acre of mowing land, 3 1/4 acres pasture land by the Salem road, one acre salt marsh, 1 woodlot, 1/2 pew in the Meeting House. 31 Oct. 1765.

10. Land set off from estate of Nehemiah Parson for wife Elizabeth [Bray]. Lower room in Dwelling House, privilege in well, back leanto, and northern half of cellar. 3 March 1766.

11. William Parson Jr., Mariner to Jacob Parsons 1 1/2 acres in Fisherman’s Field bordering on Jacob’s land. 8 Dec. 1766 Rec. 15 July 1767 Lib 121 Folio 121.

12. Benjamin Parsons of Gloucester, Mariner to Jacob Parson of Gloucester, Yeoman, a piece of land in Fisherman’s Field on Stage neck, 22 rods more or less, bordered by land formerly of Samuel Parson and by the sea ... all the land my father James Parsons left for the Way from Elder James Parsons to Stage Point in Fisherman’s Field. 25 June 1767.

13. William Parsons Jr., Mariner to Jacob Parsons, Gentleman, a parcel of land in Fisherman’s Field containing about 3 acres, butted on the North by his own land, East by Jacob Parsons’ land, South by the sea and West by Jacob and Solomon Parsons, with privileges and appurtenances. 11 July 1768 Rec. 4 May 1769 Lib. 126 Fol. 65.

14. William Parsons Jr., Yeoman to Jacob Parsons Yeoman, a tract of land in Fisherman’s Field bounded on Northeast by land belonging to the Proprietors of Fisherman Field, Southeast and Southwest by Jacob Parsons, Northwest by land of Solomon Parsons and the Fence. Estimated three acres with all privileges and appurtenances. 6 Sep 1769 Rec. Lib 126, Folio 187.

15. William Parsons Jr., Mariner to Samuel Whittemore, Gentleman, a tract of marsh on the highway leading from the Cut to Manchester. 18 Dec 1770 Rec. Lib 128 Folio 260.

16. Solomon Parsons, Cordwainer to Jacob Parsons, Mariner, about 3/4 acres of land in Fisherman’s Field on Easterly side of the highway by Constantine Joslin’s house and bounded by Solomon’s land ... by land of Elizabeth Parsons, widow. Solomon’s wife Sarah resigns her right of dower. 9 April 1772, Rec. Lib 130 Fol. 87.

17. William Parsons of New Gloucester, Mass, [sic] Mariner, to Jacob Parsons, Gentleman, one acre of marsh near the Cut, bordering on marsh of John Low Esq., by the creek and marsh formerly owned by Ebenezer Parsons, then East over the thatch bank. Signed at New Gloucester before Isaac Parsons & Jerusha (Parsons) Jordan.

Series I, Folder 3

18. Selectmen of Gloucester to Samuel Whittemore, land on Northeast side of the road leading from the Cut to Little River, one acre. 24 Feb 1787. Rec. Book 161 Leaf 268.

19. Jemima Cook, widow, to Ezekiel Parsons and his sister Lucy [Barrett] part of a dwelling house and land formerly belonging to Eleazer Parsons, bordered by house belonging to said Ezekiel and Lucy. 10 Aug 1790.

20. Jemima Cook, widow, to Samuel Whittemore 1 1/4 acres of marsh in Gloucester, by land of Col. John Low, on Northerly side of the road leading from the Cut to Ipswich, by a marsh belonging to Samuel Whittemore. 18 May 1792. Rec Book 162 Leaf 231 

21. Jemima Cook of Gloucester, widow, now residing in New Gloucester, appoints Abraham Pearce of New Gloucester her attorney to sell land in Gloucester [Abraham Pearce is her sin-in-law] Rec. Book 162 Leaf 231. 6 June 1793.

22. Abraham Pearce of New Gloucester, Yeoman to Samuel Whittemore of Gloucester, Yeoman, land in Gloucester formerly belonging to Eliezer Parsons ... on West side of road leading from the Cutt to Manchester (about six acres) 22 June 1793. Rec. Book 162 Leaf 231

23. Jonathan Trask to Samuel Whittemore, land in Fisherman’s Field on Stage Point adjoining land formerly of James Parsons and land formerly of Ebenezer Parsons, with a privilege in the landing place and part of an old wharff, also the privilege of the Way that leads from the landing place Westerly to the highway by Solomon Parsons’ house. (He bought this from John Parsons 15 March 1773.) Wife Abigail Trask relinquishing dower rights. Thomas Parsons, witness. 11 Nov 1793 Rec. Book 156 Leaf 278

24. Isaac Parsons of New Gloucester, Cumberland, Nehemiah Parsons, Tanner, Thomas and Aaron Parsons, Mariner, and Humphrey Morse, Currier & Lydia his wife, all of Gloucester and John Haskell & wife Hannah of New Gloucester, heirs to the estate of Deacon Isaac Parson to Samuel Whittemore, their right in several pieces of land, being 7/9 of their mother Hanna Parsons’ dower, 2 1/4 acres in Fisherman’s Field, bounded by Israel Trask, East and West by land of heirs of Jacob Parsons, Southerly by land of Samuel Whittemore, one acre of marsh set off to Eben Parsons’ widow, West by land of Samuel Whittemore that had been their father Isaac Parsons;. 23 Sep 1794.

Series I, Folder 4

25. Sarah Low, daughter of John Low and widow of Joseph parsons, to Samuel Whittemore, a piece of marsh land in Gloucester lying on North side of road leading from the Harbor in Gloucester to Sale

26. Ezekial Parsons, wife Fanny, Lucy Barrett and husband William to Samuel Whittemore, land that belonged to Eleazer Parsons, grandfather of Ezekiel and Lucy, bordering on Whittemore’s land. 8 April 1801

27. John Robards, Carpenter and Ephraim Robards, to Enoch Bray, Gunner, four acres of Woodland. 28 May 1801.

28. Elias Clough, Yeoman to Samuel Whittemore, Esq. A piece of salt marsh in Gloucester on Westerly side of the Cut and adjoining marsh formerly of Jacob Parsons and marsh formerly of Zerubbabel Allen on North. 16 Sep 1802 Rec. Book 175 Leaf 75 

29. William Rogers and wife Elizabeth to Samuel Whittemore, a piece of marsh containing four acres, bounded on the South by the highway leading from the Cut to the 4th Parish, West by marsh of Samuel Whittemore, and North by the creek. 20 April 1802.

30. Samuel Whittemore to Hannah Parsons, simstress [sic] several pieces of land in Gloucester [actually about 14 pieces of land – almost everything that had previously been sold to Whittemore.]

31. Israel Trask to Hannah Parsons, spinster, land between the Cook Orchard and the lane or private way leading to Hannah’s farmhouse ... a tract of land that was enclosed by Samuel Whittemore, deceased, but which before such enclosure was used as a private way. 6 April 1819 Book 220 Leaf 265

Series I Folder 5

32. Children of Andrew Parson to children of Nehemiah Parsons, their share of a piece of property belonging to their father, Nehemiah Parson. 4 May 1842 Rec. Book 335 Leaf 139 

33. Nehemiah Parsons, Isaac Parsons, John M. Parsons, Abigail Morse, Nathan P. Morse, Mary S. Gardner to George Parsons and Betsy Patch a piece of land by the burying ground (Washington Cemetery) and part of house. 4 May 1842 Rec. Book 362 Leaf 238.

34. Land in estate of Nehemiah parsons sold to Anthony Morse of Plymouth to pay debts of estate. 8 Aug 1842 Rec. Book 335 Leaf 136

35. Anthony Morse to children of her brother, Nathan P. Morse. 8 April 1843 Rec. Book 336 Leaf 206

36. Betsy Patch of Manchester and Rachel parsons of Gloucester, widows, to Charles P. Morse. 29 Nov. 1845. Book 362 Leaf 235 or 236 (14 Jan 1846)

37. Charles P. Morse, mariner to John Pew, Trader. 28 Feb 1855 Book 508, Leaf 138.

38. Jacob Devries to Meribah Jones a piece of land at the Cut near the road leading to Manchester (the Whittemore Farmhouse) previously recorded in Book 395 Leaf 54 16 Nov 1857. Rec. Book 563 Leaf 157.

39. . Meribah Jones, singlewoman to Charles P. Mann, the Whittemore Farmhouse, now owned by B.K. Hough and others. 14 April 1858. Rec. Book 569 Leaf 9.

Series I Folder 6

40. Charles P. Morse, Isaac P. Morse, Lydia Ann Day, widow (formerly Morse), and Nathan P. Morse to William A. Marshall, land Southeast of the Salem Road by Washington Cemetery. 19 June 1860. Book 624 Leaf 249.

41. Charles P. Morse, Mariner to William Dolliver, Merchant, in return for endorsing promissory notes and $1.00, a piece of land on the Southeasterly side of the Salem Road in Gloucester, bounded in part by Washington Cemetery – land later sold back to Isaac P. Morse for $100.00 by Charles Thompson and George Hobbs, assignees of the estate of William Dolliver.

42. Charles P. Morse to George Shackleford, land on the Salem road – half the land under the house now occupied by Charles P. Morse, each owner to have common privilege in the well. 19 Dec. 1864. Book 609 Leaf 2

43. Isaac P. Morse to William C. Marshall, land on Southeast side of Salem road by Washington Cemetery. 19 April 1867. Book 722 Leaf 21

44. Land from Estate of Isaac P. Morse, Elizabeth Morse sells to George H. Morse and his wife Elsie P. Morse, land on Easterly side of Western Ave. by Washington Cemetery. 5 April 1940. Rec. 3213 p. 478. Dec. 3 1958.

Series I Folder 7

1. June 15, 1867. Transfer of a portion of land from C. Barrett to W. Marshall along a fence separating the property of Charles Barrett and William Marshall.

2. Nov. 11, 1723. Property description recorded Jan. 24 1726 for the homestead of Ebenezer Parsons and James Parsons.

3. Feb. 19, 1724. Property description for James parsons & Ebenezer Parsons.

4. March 30, 1719. Property description.

5. Document for coasters manifest. [blank].

Series II Folder 8

1. Feb. 24 1863. Document for registration of Schooner W. B. Ferguson Isaac Morse Captain, Samuel Marshall Jr., Mate.

2. March 21, 1863. Invoices for W. B. Ferguson, Boston to Baltimore.

3. March 20, 1863. Invoices for W. B. Ferguson Boston to Baltimore.

Series II Folder 9

1. Oct. 18, 1810. A letter attesting to the pay of Nathan Morse serving on the Schooner Fatima. Document requiring oath of allegiance to U.S. from Provost Marshall in New Orleans, July 7, 1863. Signed by Isaac Morse.

2. April 9, 1855. Document attesting to U.S. citizenship – Isaac Morse.

3. March 5, 1863. Document of Registration for Schooner W. B. Ferguson – 1/4 owner Charles Boynton; 3/4 owner Benjamin Courtney; master Isaac Morse. Tax receipt - $12.40 – tonnage duty, city of Gloucester, paid by Isaac Morse for schooner.

4. March 5, 1863. Document – license for W. B. Ferguson from Gloucester. Oath of citizenship and oath of allegiance to U.S. by Isaac Morse.

5. Nov. 28, 1879. Document – appointment of Isaac Morse as Commissioner of Wrecks and Shipwrecked Goods for Essex County.

6. May 18, 1891. Stock certificate for George Morse.

Series II Folder 10

1. Sept. 8, 1869. Humane Society medal rewarded to 

2. Tin vessel – used to store and protect documents.